Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lileks on the Crushing of Dissent

He notes something that I've noticed myself; the anti-war left is acting a lot like the anti-Clinton right did back in the 1990s. (I remember, I was there, and I was one of the nuts.)
The lunatic right went through this in the '90s. Bill Clinton, as it turned out, did not tie small children to railroad tracks in Mena, Ark., to cover up his worldwide cocaine-distribution syndicate. To Clinton's foes, however, it was true in the macro sense.

Somehow. It had to be. In the '90s these people were marginal cranks, and no one listened to them. Today they're on Air America. Nothing's changed, in other words.
Read the whole thing.


flint cordoroy said...

hmmmm. Which is the bigger issue? War? Or one guy getting a hummer? Which is a more valid activity to devote countless news hours and political maneuvering to?

How silly of me. Of course This war is just like Clinton getting a blow job! Of course the anti-war left is just as kooky as the anti-blow_job right! Now I understand!

What is interesting is the consistent overspending of the Republicans managed to turn Clinton's blow job into an 80 million dollar government expenditure. The private sector could have handled that much more efficiently.

Robert said...

Flint, I did not equate the issues that are being nuttified about. I equated the behavior of the nuts.

flint cordoroy said...

The behavior of the "nuts" as you call them must be viewed in the context of what it is a reaction to.

McDuff said...

I think the most interesting thing here is how the anti-Clinton extremists were just that -- extremists. On the far side, the fringe of the right. Wheras now, they are the Leftist establishment. Even as you admit, yourself, to being "one of the nuts" -- presumably putting you on a par with the militiamen out there in Montana, or with Ralph Nader.

The thing is... I don't really see how that follows. The anti-Clinton "extremism", as you put it, permeated very deeply into the Republican establishment. I'm not talking about the Clenis or Lewinsky or the "debasing the office of the presidency" issues, but about the rest of the stuff that surrounded Clinton.

The Republicans investigated everything Clinton was accused of because it was just the kind of thing he'd do -- and yet, most of them turned out to be not the kind of thing he'd do after all. Remember that story about the Clinton staff "looting" the Oval Office? And how that turned out to be a tissue of lies, but which still spread because it "seemed plausible"? Just why is it different?

On the specific case, there is an objection that I, at least (as a radical leftist for whom hanging is too good) feel should be made to your characterisation of the "Little Red Book" furore. The actions "seem plausible" not specifically to Bush, but to any government which oversteps the mark. The US Gov't is not immune to overstepping its boundaries, no matter who is in power. FDR's Japanese-American Internment Camps (the one thing Michelle Malkin thinks FDR did right) were an overstep of democratic authority. McCarthy's HUAC was an overstep. I think, particularly when denouncing Leftists for being too paranoid about what Bush will or will not do, that it is worth bearing in mind that many "leftist academics" certainly remember a time when it was very possible for the US Government to interfere in your right to have and hold communist literature. You and I might agree that Communism is a load of old hooey, but I think it is, or should be, acknowledged that blacklisting someone for holding opinions with which we disagree, even if they are demonstrably dead wrong, is contrary to the spirit of personal freedom in which both our countries take a great deal of justifiable pride.

Bush has, like many before him, tested the boundaries of what he can get away with and sought to extend the authority and secrecy of the executive branch of government, and of particular kinds of law enforcement. He argues even now that he can break any law if he feels it justified. It's not out of the question under any administration that overzealous law-enforcement could take things too far. Under a leadership which chooses to actively work towards slackening the restraint of accountability, such byproducts become that much more probable.

It's not Bush. It's government. It just so happens Bush is in favour of removing checks on government activity. We didn't make him do it.

SoonerThought said...

The vitriolic anti-Clinton people were the actual first "Sore-Losermans." They could not take it that Reagan's Revolution was stopped in its tracks by a poor boy made good from Hope, Arkansas. They determined to destroy him in any way possible, and came damn close to doing so.
This put blood in the water and almost everything on the table for both sides to destroy the opposition. Rightwingers, look into your mirror.